Area rugs are a great way to express your individual style. Whether you go with a wool rug, a shag rug, a classic Persian, or something else, you can really bring together a room and complement your interior design sensibility like nothing else. If you’re looking to showcase your artistic tastes or make your living space as plush and cozy as possible, there’s an area rug out there to help you get where you want to go.
Although area rugs can add a lot of personality and pizzazz to your living space with very little effort, there’s one huge caveat to how easy area rugs are to use: Keeping them clean.
If you have pets or small children, you know how quickly your living room can go from pristine to a disaster area. So the idea of placing a large, potentially expensive textile on your floor may seem insane, depending on how busy your household is. Even if you live alone, you may not know what your options are for keeping your rug clean and hygienic.
Let’s talk about some options for cleaning your area rug, and how often this should be a part of your tidying routine.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Rug?
Luckily, cleaning your area rug doesn’t need to be part of your Sunday rush to tidy before the work week starts! If you clean your rug too often, no matter what it’s made from or what type of rug it is, you run the risk of fading the colors and patterns of your rug prematurely.
Generally, you should look to fully wash your rug once every few months — although this depends on where the rug is located. If you have your rug in high-traffic areas like your living room or hallway, you may find that it stops smelling so fresh more frequently. If the foot traffic is particularly high where your rug is resting, you may want to look into cleaning it slightly more often — but don’t overdo it.
Outside of full-on cleans (more on tactics for tackling that in the next section), you can spot clean your rug as needed. Issues like pet stains or mildew can be mitigated with spot cleaning using baking soda or the right cleaning solution, and with generally keeping on top of anything that might damage your rug. You may be busy, but if you see that something’s spilled on your rug, it’s important to try to soak it up as much as possible right there and then, lest the liquid seeps into the deeper levels of the rug and cause a problem.
Otherwise, you should vacuum your area rug as regularly as you would any other carpeting in your home. It’s actually really important to vacuum your rugs (and carpets!) regularly because high pile rugs can be magnets for dust mites, dander, and other irritants and allergens. Thankfully, Tumble rugs feature a very low pile which limits the collection of such allergens.
Convetional hgh pile rugs may negatively impact the air quality of your home and even trigger allergies. Using a vacuum cleaner on your area rug on a regular basis can help keep your rug looking its best in between deep cleanings.
What Are the Options for Cleaning Your Conventional Area Rug?
There are a wide variety of options when it comes to cleaning your area rug. Which one is best for you will depend on your individual preferences, your budget, and the type of rug you have in your home.
Do It Yourself
The most important step in doing a DIY rug cleaning is being sure you’ve read the care label and fully understood them. Cleaning traditional rugs at home will always come with a slight risk because they’re generally not designed to be washed at home — so you’ll want to be well-versed on the materials and any risks in cleaning your rug before you take it on.
Some rugs — namely rugs that are especially high pile, or are antique, vintage, or heirloom — should never be washed at home. While you may feel like you have a good handle on the materials in your heirloom rug and are confident in your ability to wash it at home, it simply isn’t worth the risk of ruining it or introducing dampness and potential mildew to your area rug.
Test your washing process on a small area of your rug first. Even if you’ve done your research, things can always go wrong, like bleeding colors, so you’ll want to patch test the cleaners you're using to make sure that you’re happy with them before you apply them to the entire rug.
Once you’re ready to go, you’ll first want to vacuum your rug to clear out as much dust, dirt, and dander as possible before you get started. Vacuum the back of the rug too, or beat it out outside until you’re happy with it.
Then, use mild dish soap, warm water, and a soft-bristled brush to clean the surface of your rug. It’s a bit of a painstaking process, but since your area rug won’t need to be washed this way too often, it’s worth putting a bit more effort into the process to be sure you won’t damage your rug.
After you’re satisfied that your rug is thoroughly lathered and any marks or stains have been buffed out by your brush, you’ll want to wet the carpet down completely to get all the soap out. If you have a garden hose, that’s probably your best bet — otherwise, your bathtub or showerhead will do just fine.
The final part of the process is the most important: drying your area rug. You can use a squeegee to help remove excess water or spread your rug out over some thick, dry towels. When the rug is flat, press it firmly into the towels. If the towels get saturated, replace them with new towels. Then, let the rug dry.
Then, hang your rug to dry. Ensuring that your rug is completely dry before you place it on the floor is crucial. Otherwise, it may develop mold and mildew, which can negatively impact your health.
If you’re feeling a bit more cautious, have antique rugs or other specialized materials, or have more room in your budget, professional cleaning with carpet shampoo and stain remover is a safe and effective option. Because you don’t need to clean your rug more than once a year or so, it might be worth the expense to know that your rug is in safe hands.
You’ll need to research rug cleaning services in your individual area. Depending on the service you pursue and the area you live in, the cost can vary greatly. But generally, rug cleaners will charge by the square footage of your rug.
If you have a small rug, this might actually end up being fairly affordable. But if your rug is a full area rug, it can run you hundreds of dollars. The price will go up if you select individual treatments, like stain proofing treatments or other extras.
Basically, while professional rug cleaning is safe and effective, it can end up costing you more than your rug is worth in the first place.
Get a Washable Rug
This is the best and easiest option of the three. Rather than fussing with an arduous do-it-yourself carpet cleaning process, or turning out your pockets for an expensive professional cleaning, you could get a Tumble rug, which is entirely machine washable.
Rather than worrying about which cleaning products to use or which professional carpet cleaner to trust with your favorite piece of home decor, you can simply toss your Tumble rug into the washing machine when it’s looking dusty or dirty. Our rugs can fit into standard washing machines. You just remove the rug from the rug pad, and you’re ready to go.
Tumble rugs should be washed with cold water and a gentle laundry detergent. It’s important to avoid detergents that use bleach, and fabric softener isn’t good for Tumble rugs either. This will ensure that the dyes don’t run and the colors don’t fade.
Once your rug is washed, you can either pop it into your dryer on its gentlest cycle, or allow your rug to air dry. Either way, ensure your rug is completely dry before you replace it on the floor. Make sure to set your rug flat on its rug pad, put it all back in place and you’re ready to go.
The care instructions on our rugs are a lot simpler, and the road to clean rugs is a lot shorter than it is with other products. And not only that, but with an 8x10’ rug running you less than $400, you’ll spend less on a machine washable rug than you may spend on a single professional cleaning.
Keeping your area rug clean and fresh can be a challenge. But with a washable rug, cleaning your area rug is simple, and it will save you tons of money in the process.
Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Outcomes: A Review | Environmental Research and Public Health
Dust Mite Allergies: Overview | InformedHealth.Org
Mold and Your Home: What You Need to Know | New York State Department of Health